by Sue Ann Rybak

The John Jay Institute, a politically conservative civic leadership organization whose mission is to “to prepare principled leaders for faith-informed public service,” is considering moving to Chestnut Hill.

Alan Crippen II, president of the institute, said the organization, which is currently based in Bala Cynwyd, is looking for a new permanent home.

“We love Chestnut Hill,” Crippen said. “We think it’s a choice location for the John Jay Institute. It’s an ideal setting for the nature of our programs and the kinds of students we attract – the top tier students from around the world.

“Our programs involve leadership training, ethics, exploration of the animating ideals and values of the American founding.”

He said it was just one of the reasons the institute is planning to move to Philadelphia, pointing out that Chestnut Hill is an ideal location because the community “is committed to historic preservation, walkable sustainable communities, friendly to academic enterprises and [promotes] cultural events.”

“All of these commend Chestnut Hill for our institute, its mission and its students,” he added.

The site of the proposed development is 9002 Crefeld St., which is currently zoned as R1 for single- family homes. The house, built in 1928, has approximately 20,000 square feet. To relocate there, the institute must obtain a special use variance.

“Ideally, we want to be in the city – we are committed to human flourishing and leadership training,” Crippen said. “We want to inspire leaders in government at every level from local to state to national.”

He said the institute wanted to come to Philadelphia, to educate students, not only in the government sector but in nonprofit and business as well.

He said the organization is looking forward to working with the Chestnut Hill Community Association to address any issues or concerns. In preparation for its meeting with the CHCA’s Land Use Zoning and Planning Committee, the institute held a community meeting on Sept. 15 to get input from near neighbors.

While the John Jay Institute is discussing the feasibility of the site, Crippen said the organization was committed to its “continual beautification and preservation.”

“The John Jay Institute hopes to be a viable part of the diversity that is Chestnut Hill,” Crippen said.

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